Friday, January 6, 2023

Northern Shrike & Winter Raptorfest in Melbourne ON


Happy New Year!  I had driven afar to pick up a new lens on Jan 5th and on the way home, I figured I would try my luck with Northern Shrike and sure enough, I was able to find one. I was a little surprised at how nice the Melbourne Ontario (Mayfair?) area was - It has lots of side roads to traverse through and has some nice pasture, nature, waterway and farmers field habitat. 

The lens I had picked up was a little bit of a treat - a 200-600mm telephoto, which in cropped sensor mode offers a breathtaking, frame-filling, 900mm of zoom strength. I have a big learning curve with this lens but I figured between birdwatching and astronomy - I can enjoy this lens and get some value out of it for a few years. 


This Shrike was my personal highlight on this trip. I was able to get a few shots while sitting in my car with this bird 30-40m away from me. My goal when photographing birds is to appreciate the bird from a distance, get some photos without disturbing the bird, then quietly moving on. I was photographing this Merlin through a crack in my car's sunroof!

Soon after seeing the Shrike, I had noted many raptors - Mainly Red-tailed Hawks - but also seeing the following, all taken from my car: Bald Eagles, Rough-legged Hawk, Eastern Bluebirds, another Merlin, and a Coopers Hawk.

Overall - this was a nice stop and not too far away from home. Melbourne is just south of London ON. A beautiful place with some nice winter raptors. 

Good Birding,

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